Whirlpool Trail, NY • Hike

Whirlpool Trail, NY

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Yoas Mountain - Coronado National F...
Yoas Mountain - Coronado National Forest
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 5.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 587 feet
Elevation Gain -362 feet
Accumulated Gain 618 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.39
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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30  2022-09-08 Mike_W
author avatar Guides 25
Routes 40
Photos 1,625
Trips 176 map ( 1,001 miles )
Age 50 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Western Region
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Preferred May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:58am - 5:01pm
Official Route
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along the edge of the Whirlpool
by Mike_W

The Whirlpool Rapids are rated 6 on a navigatable scale from 1 (easiest) to 6 (most dangerous). Whirlpool Rapids at White Water Walk are traveling at about 48km/hr or 30mph, creating the Whirlpool Rapids - "Class 6 white-water rapids". The Whirlpool Rapids consists of 4 kilometers of 3-5 meter standing waves, making this stretch of whitewater the largest/finest series of standing waves in North America.

The Whirlpool trails are a few miles downstream from Niagara Falls, on the United States side of the border. Here are some of the most dangerous rapids in North America. Two staircases go down roughly 400 feet and are 1 mile apart. Trails connect each staircase at the bottom and top. Of all hikes in Western New York, it probably has one of the highest amounts of elevation change. There are a series of trails here which are connected together - the Whirlpool trail, the Devil's Hole trail, and the Niagara Gorge Rim trail. This walk involves portions of all 3 trails.

Park at Whirlpool State Park and walk West. You will find a trail going North and South. Turn right and head North. After about 3/4 of a mile, you will see a staircase leading down. You can take this down or continue approximately 1 more mile to Devil's Hole State Park, and go down the stairs here. Either staircase will take you to the bottom trail which is where you'll be closer to the rapids and have better views of the rapids. The trail at the bottom is well-maintained and easy to follow. This trail can be taken South to the Whirlpool area and beyond that. This is the area where there's a sharp bend in the river and what looks like a small bay on the Canadian side. The currents here are among the strongest in this area.

There is a jet boat tour given by a company called Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours (tap for more info). The tour starts in Lewiston, New York, and rides to the Whirlpool area but for safety does not go to the area with the strongest waves.

Less than 1/4 mile South of the Whirlpool area, you will see a large rock formation out near the rapids. 2 trails are leading down to this rock formation. It is safe to walk on these rocks however you should pay attention to the level of the water. In Sept 2021, I witnessed the water level changing drastically in about 15 minutes from a tiny narrow stream 1 inch deep to a stream that was a foot deep. It was a bit scary but I was able to get back to the main trail by walking through the 1-foot deep stream! My sneakers were soaked but I didn't get swept into the rapids. Other people who I've talked to have had a similar experience at various times. Be aware of your surroundings.

It is possible to hike at least 1 mile past the rock formation. You will see a sign that marks the end of the trail. Then, head back and walk up either staircase to complete your loop. You may see some jet boats going by during the daytime. In my opinion, this is one of the best hikes in Western New York.

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2022-09-08 Mike_W
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Buffalo or Grand Island, take I-190 North to Exit 21 for NY 384/Buffalo Ave. Take Buffalo Ave. West for 2.6 miles and take the exit for Portage road. Take Portage road for 1.5 miles and then turn right onto Main Street which is also Route 104. Stay on this route for roughly 1 mile and turn left on Findlay road and follow the signs to Whirlpool State Park.

    From Canada and points North, take Route 104 South to Findlay road and turn right. Then, follow the signs to Whirlpool State Park.
    page created by Mike_W on Sep 08 2022 6:58 pm

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